Specialty Coffee Association

Drink Special: Clarity Cool Down by Caleb Savage

Happy Summer! 

Clarity Cool Down.jpg

With the hot and humid Oklahoma City Summer, we decided our Summer Drink Special should be something nice and chilly! 

With a little help from Wilbur Curtis’ new Chill X, we’re pleased to present our vision of a coffee slush: the Clarity Cool Down!

Clarity Cool Down Pouring.jpg

Coffee Slush?

Yes. The Clarity Cool Down is a Cold Brew Slush made with Brown Sugar and Minor Figures Oat M*lk! Using cold brew concentrate, the Cool Down has about as much caffeine as any of our regular coffee drinks, and since we’re using Oat M*lk, it’s also vegan!

But Seriously, A Coffee Slush?

Specialty Coffee sometimes gets a bad rap for being too serious about how coffee should be prepared and gets to decide what “is” and “is not” Specialty Coffee. We’re not really about that.

Specialty Coffee is about care. The care farmers and producers show when planting, harvesting, and processing coffee cherries and the care roasters and baristas show in preparing the coffee for service. While Specialty Coffee refers to a level of coffee quality scored at the farm or mill, specialty coffee is about preparing and showcasing great coffees, and we think our Clarity Cool Down does just that.

We’re super pumped to share our summer special with you! Stop by next time it’s a million degrees, and let the Clarity Cool Down help you beat the heat!

Clarity Cool Down Above.jpg

Coffee Questions: What is Specialty Coffee? by Caleb Savage

Specialty Coffee

“What’s the difference between a good cup of coffee and ‘Specialty’ coffee?”

Simply put: A good cup of coffee is any coffee you like to drink. Specialty coffee is a technical standard given to green (unroasted) coffees that meet or exceed a list of standards defined by the Specialty Coffee Association or SCA.

Green Coffee

Green Coffee

Grading & Defects

Why do some coffees have letters like AA or PB following the name?

It’s their grade or size! Countries may use terms like “Supremo” or lettering to give designation between sizes of the beans or number of defects like rocks or chipped beans found in a small sample of the coffee. 

In Kenya, where lettered sizing is the standard, AA refers to the largest sized beans, AB the size immediately smaller, PB referring to Peaberries, a mutation in which a coffee cherry forms only one seed (or bean) instead of two, and E for Elephant referring to an ear-like shape, similar to the mutation that creates peaberries.

HeartKenyaThunguriAA

Effects on Taste

“Is a Peaberry sweeter than a normal coffee bean?”

Maybe, maybe not. While most grading systems give some sort of designation to quality, defect, or taste in cup, coffee is still a complex drink with varying techniques of care, preparation, production, and consumption. Coffees harvested from the same farm may contain different varieties of coffee plants. Coffee cherries from the same plant may be processed a handful of ways. Entire crops of coffee may be bought by dozens of roasters and prepared with varying beliefs of roast time or the natural flavors of the coffee. Finally, a brewer may manipulate the taste of the coffee based on all the previous steps to produce a cup that a co-worker might interpret completely differently.

RoastedCoffee

Good, with guidelines

Ultimately, a cup of coffee is only as good as the experience surrounding it. While the diversity of coffee and the diversity of palates create a multitude of definitions of “good”, we can use grading, the standards that define “Specialty”, and the interpretation of coffee that roasters and cafes use to define and describe the coffees they serve as a framework to give us a better understanding of what makes coffee so special.

brewing49th

Coffee Questions

This post is a part of a series of articles written to answer the questions you may have wondered but might not have asked. Have a question? Contact us here!

Seed to Cup Part 1 Recap by Caleb Savage

Seed to Cup Class.jpg

For this month’s class, we kicked off a new series of classes called Seed to Cup! In this series, we’ll explore how we get from coffea arabica to your morning pour over or Blood Orange Latte. Today we covered the ins and outs of the coffee plant, examined some common varieties of coffee, and debated the merits of Washed vs. Sun-Dried Coffee.

Coffee is a Fruit

Coffee Cherry Diagram and Caleb.jpg

Coffee is a flowering fruit tree, typically grown between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, near the equator. The roasted bean that we grind and drink is the seed found inside the fruit of this tree. The trees take years to mature enough to produce fruit and even then only produce a couple of pounds.

This cherry-like fruit has been cultivated in areas of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America for hundreds of years, first found in Ethiopia well before the 10th Century and then carried around the world throughout the 1700s and beyond. Learn more about coffee farming here.

Coffee is Diverse

Not only have coffee trees been cultivated in places all over the world, but as they’ve been moved and cared for, they’ve also been bred to become more resilient and yield more fruit!

From Heirloom varieties like the Geisha of Panama to the French Mission Bourbon, coffee trees, cherries, and seeds, take on all sorts of different sizes, shapes, and colors.

Coffee Varieties and Caleb.jpg

Thanks to great diversity of coffee varieties and the growth of specialty coffee, research is being done over at World Coffee Research to provide producers with valuable information about what varieties might work best in new environments or places which have historically only grown one or two varieties.

Coffee is a Business

Washed vs Sun Dried.jpg

For our tasting, we compared KLLR Coffee’s Washed and Sun-Dried Ethiopia to discuss how the process of removing the fruit of the coffee cherry from the seed can drastically impact flavor of the coffee and the profitability of the producer. While washed-processed coffees can be more consistent and can be better protected against natural disasters that could ruin a crop, they also require large amounts of water that can be too costly for some co-ops or producers to use. Sun-Dried coffees are memorable and give producers are more economical way to process their coffees. However, the process is entirely dependent on unknown variables like the weather and time to be successful.

We host these classes each month as a way to share information and coffee with anyone who’s interested. Sign up at the bottom of the page here to subscribe to our newsletter, or reach out to us in the Contact Form with a question or idea for a class!

 

Palate Training Recap by Steve Willingham

We had a great time this afternoon tasting and talking about flowers and coffee at our first Palate Training! This class kicks off a series of events we’re hosting to grow the coffee community in Oklahoma City. We talked about what happens as we taste and how we can better discern levels of the various parts of taste, why we use the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel, and got to put our knowledge to use on some floral notes and some KLLR Coffee!

Caleb-palate-training.jpg

Here’s a little recap below:

How We Taste

In school we were taught the five parts of taste: sweet, salty, sour, savory, & bitter. Our taste is also affected by aromatics, the smells associated with the drink or food, tactile sensations like body or mouthfeel, and trigeminal sensations like spice or cooling, acidity or astringency. All of these things play a role in determining how we taste what we consume. However, this would be a very in-depth and slightly boring sell to anyone looking to get into coffee. Hello Flavor Wheel.

coffee-flavor-wheel.jpg

Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel

Thanks to World Coffee Research and the Specialty Coffee Association, we can discuss coffee in terms that are descriptive, quantifiable, and replicable. With over 110 different aromas, flavors, and textures, the flavor wheel makes it easy to categorize tastes by giving a concept like “rose” to a more complex description like “soft, slightly sweet, & aromatic.”

We had a ton of fun getting to compare the flowers like chamomile and jasmine and talk about the way these notes might appear in coffee. Be sure to talk to one of our baristas to learn more about palate training and how to better develop your palate!

coffee-spider-graph.jpg

We are looking forward to hosting our next class on November 11th. If you’re interested, contact us here to be one of the first to know about our next class!